WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy, today applauded the passage of his provision that boosts funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, which was included in the American Rescue Plan. The MIECHV program provides in-home visitations and helps pregnant women and new moms learn healthy parenting techniques to raise healthy babies and strengthen families.
“Home visitations by nurses, social workers and other professionals are proven to improve the prenatal health, development, education and economic self-sufficiency of low-income children and families,” said Sen. Menendez, who is the Senate lead of the MIECHV program. “The boost in funding and expanded flexibility will ensure MIECHV programs across New Jersey and the country can continue providing critical services amidst the pandemic. I was proud to lead the fight for the most recent five-year reauthorization of this program and I’m committed to making sure Congress provides the resources and support the program needs to thrive and help struggling families across the nation.”
Through MIECHV, nurses, social workers, or other professionals visit at-risk families in their homes to evaluate their living situations and provide information on resources available to improve the health, educational, and economic opportunities for at-risk children. Resources include health care, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition education or assistance. 5,672 New Jersey families and 7,549 New Jersey children benefited from MIECHV programs in 2019.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan includes an additional $150 million for staffing and servicing related to in-home or virtual visits. The provision also includes expanded flexibility for program operators to use funding to purchase technology needed for virtual home visits, and emergency supplies such as formula, food, water, hand soap and sanitizer, diapers, and prepaid grocery cards.
Sen. Menendez is the Senate champion of the MIECHV program and led the charge for a five-year reauthorization in 2017 to ensure families across the nation continue to receive services from this important program. In New Jersey, all 21 counties are served by this program.
“NJ home visitors are not only changing lives during the pandemic, but also saving lives by assisting with suicidal families, postpartum depression and mental health issues, reducing social isolation, and providing basic needs,” Jessica Nugent, MPH, Director, Home Visting, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey. “This emergency funding will enable programs to fill technology gaps, obtain further specialty training, and provide families with much needed basics during this public health crisis. We remain ever so thankful for Senator Menendez and his ongoing support for home visiting programs.”